Myanmar U23 0 Thailand U23 3: War Elephants retain SEA Games Gold

Thailand asserted their dominance at the regional level once again as they thrashed Myanmar 3-0 in the final to pick up their second straight Gold medal, and 15th overall, at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. 

Myanmar did well to stifle the Thais in the first half on Monday at the National Stadium, but there was no stopping the defending champions after the break.

Two goals in the space of 10 minutes from Tanaboon Kesarat and Chananan Pombubpha broke the brave Burmese resistance before substitute Pinyo Inpinit put the icing on the cake in front of 31,143 fans 12 minutes before the end.

Both side made no changes to the line-ups which started their respective semi-finals against Vietnam and Indonesia, with Thailand unsurprisingly asserting control right from the get-go.

Chananan found himself at the end of an excellent Nurul Sriyankem cross inside the six-yard box after just six minutes, but his shot was well held by Myanmar keeper Kyaw Zin Phyo.

Chanathip Songkrasin and Rungrat Phumichantuk then lashed wide from range, before Myanmar captain Nay Lin Tun saw his powerful effort on 14 minutes well held by Thailand custodian Chanin Sae-Ear.

That proved to be Myanmar’s only shot on target as the Thais continued to pepper their opponents with shots without converting.

Zin Phyo’s goal was almost impregnable as the custodian plucked Nurul’s free-kick out of the air before going down well to smother Thitiphan Puangjan’s header from Narabudin Weerawatnodom’s right-wing cross.

Thitiphan looked destined to score in the 42nd minute after latching on to an intelligent pass from Chanathip inside the area, but his shot was superbly charged down by the excellent shot-stopper, who next rounded off a magnificent half by denying Chanathip’s snapshot just before the whistle went for half time.

The 21-year-old Zin Phyo emerged in superb form after the break as well, denying Chananan from close range six minutes in after Rungrat picked out the latter with a superb low cross.

However, there was little he could do to stop the Thais from opening the scoring on 54 minutes.

Nurul’s inswinging corner was only half-cleared into the path of centre-back Tanaboon, who duly fired high into the net past the stranded goalkeeper.

Zin Phyo continued to keep the score down thereafter by stopping two of Chananan’s close-range shots but was helpless to prevent the Thais from finding the net a second time after the hour mark.

Chananan got to the end of yet another defence-splitting pass from Chanathip before coolly slotting past the onrushing custodian and into the bottom right corner.

The contest was well and truly over 12 minutes later when substitute Pinyo latched onto a superb lofted ball from Sarach Yooyen, who side-footed past the rooted Zin Phyo.

Despite seven minutes of injury time being awarded, Myanmar were unable to find a consolation goal as Thailand were crowned worthy SEA Games winners once more. 

Image credit: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo